Misuse of stimulants and a variety of other prescription medications is quite common among college students in the US, suggests new research.
In a survey conducted in eight US campuses, the researcher found that one in four undergraduates reported they used prescription pain-killer medications for non-medical reasons.
"Overall, one in four undergraduates reported they used prescription pain medications, sedatives or stimulants for non-medical reasons in their lifetimes," said author Anne McDaniel, associate director of research and data management at the Ohio State University's Centre for the Study of Student Life.
Seven out of 10 students said it is somewhat or very easy to obtain controlled stimulants without a prescription.
About 18 percent of undergraduates reported misusing prescription stimulants such as Adderall, the 2015 College Prescription Drug Study (CPDS) found.
The great majority (83 percent) received them from friends and most said they used the drug to help them study or improve their grades.
Conducted in spring 2015, the anonymous survey included 3,918 students attending six public and two private colleges and universities in five states.
The survey included undergraduate, as well as graduate and professional students. The results for both groups were similar, although undergraduates were more likely to be misusing prescription drugs.
After stimulants, pain medications were the most misused prescription medications, used by 10 percent of undergraduates.
"College is a time when many young people may start misusing prescription drugs," McDaniel said in a statement recently released by Ohio State University.
"It is a good time for intervention," McDaniel said.